After Sturmmnacht (Stormy Night), 2000—Neo Rauch
While you’re in Davis for all the doin’s, check out Cool Patch Pumpkins over by the Milk Farm, with plenty of activities for young and old—including their amazing 45-acre maze, which should provide you with lots of poetic food for thought (most of my life is a maze...). Go to coolpatchpumpkins.com for more info, or go to sacramento.about.com/od/halloween/a/pumpkinpatchsac.htm for more patches closer to you. Not all of them have mazes, though...
Might as well sit in a bar
with my guitar,
the Taj Majal behind me
on a wall—
I’ve never been—
thinking of all those tourists
who sit on benches
the Taj Majal behind them
for the view
of them when they were there.
She claims this square of sidewalk in
the L. A. Park where she
squats with her arms across her knees,
her knees bent to her chin.
Dressed in trousers, men’s sweaters pulled
in filthy layers upon her,
she talks to the madwoman of her mind.
Men nap in the grass
and stare from benches.
Summer is long and heavy, but it does not
warm her. She is the winter soul, unsaved
and wandering the vacant city inside her.
She is that woman who was born a perfect
child. Her life was long before her.
Now she is full of vague anger and
dull complaint. She talks to her shoes.
The sack at her feet is wrinkled upon the
holy body of cheap wine.
Her fist is strong around it.
Her mouth drools a memory of words.
She rocks to an old rhythm pedestrians
cannot feel. She stares at the level of
their knees where the red blur
hangs like a cloud she cannot penetrate.
Their forms float through it.
Locked in position, she
crouches before unwilling death
which shudders around her.
(for Carol & Laverne & Lisl & Danyen)
Some quiet out of the chaos settles down
and we look up through a particular old tree
and admire the feeling of that view—the way
it opens its center and spreads out its strong
dark branches—the way the leaves catch
the sunlit air with their reflective motions;
and we find a bench and a table and sit there,
talking about the poetry of the day; and we shiver
a bit under the hour that is changing back to winter,
and it feels good to linger just a while longer.
We have been placed from one setting to
another of ourselves. Nearby, two girls
go up to two wagging dogs leashed to the tree
and sit there beside them on the damp lawn,
and gradually the day thins out its people;
and we, too, must leave—seek out our cars
and go back over the slow unwinding miles
while the day closes down behind us
and we take a souvenir of calmness with us.
Such a day is this one.
Old men, sitting on
Park benches . . . I wonder what
They are thinking of . . .
With their strong faces, and eyes
That stare into yesterday.